Muscle Car Review - - Contents -

MY 1968 CHEV­ELLE SS396 has a very in­ter­est­ing story and a long list of fac­tory op­tions. It was built in the Fre­mont plant in the third week of May 1968, and de­liv­ered to Ostrom Chevro­let in Mon­te­bello, Cal­i­for­nia. In July, a 47-year-old woman by the name of Vi­o­let Do­ras pur­chased this Chev­elle SS with Grotto Blue paint and a black vinyl top. I guess she fell in love with the color and op­tions, be­cause why would a woman with two kids want a mus­cle car?

The op­tions on this car in­cluded tinted glass, power win­dows, door-edge guard, air con­di­tion­ing, F40 spe­cial sus­pen­sion, disc brakes, Turbo Hy­dra­matic trans­mis­sion, power steer­ing, elec­tric clock, push­but­ton ra­dio, front-seat speaker, front and rear bumper guards, the ZJ7 wheel and trim op­tion, and the aux­il­iary light­ing group. The op­tions to­taled $1,226.85 on a car with a base price of $3,047.50, or 40 per­cent of the pur­chase price. Vi­o­let must have re­ally loved this car.

Vi­o­let was born in the early 1920s and grew up dur­ing the De­pres­sion. It must have been this men­tal­ity that prompted her to save ev­ery bit of pa­per­work she re­ceived from the deal­er­ship as well as from the De­part­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles. Vi­o­let saved, and I am for­tu­nate to have: the win­dow sticker; con­di­tional sale con­tract; mo­tor ve­hi­cle pur­chase or­der; tem­po­rary pa­per li­cense plate for the State of Cal­i­for­nia; tem­po­rary regis­tra­tion to stick on wind­shield; Cal­i­for­nia black plates; en­ve­lope that the black plates were mailed in with the stamp in the left front cor­ner read­ing, “Ron­ald Re­gan Gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia”; Chevro­let Owner Pro­tec­tion Plan book­let with the Pro­tect-O-Plate; owner’s man­ual; build sheet (par­tially torn); and Ostrom Chevro­let card­board dealer plate.

What makes this car even more spe­cial is that the in­te­rior code on the trim tag is 765-158, for Buick Deluxe Bench Seat. You may be aware of the Buick/Oldsmo­bile/ Pon­tiac in­te­ri­ors that were in­stalled at three Chev­elle plants (Fre­mont, Kansas City, and Bal­ti­more) for about a three-month pe­riod dur­ing a sup­plier work stop­page. This car is one of them.

Vi­o­let kept her Chev­elle un­til 1995. She would have been 74 years old or so when the car was sold to Sean Bar­rett in Cal­i­for­nia. Sean kept the car un­til 2010 and sold the car to a friend of mine here in Louisville who brings cars in from Cal­i­for­nia to be saved. I pur­chased the car from him shortly

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